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Saturday Perspectives Edition

"HealthGrades ranked Sarasota Memorial Hospital in the top 5 percent of hospitals in the nation for excellence in women's health and maternity care. And for the past 10 years, Sarasota Memorial is the only hospital in the country to receive both the Maternity Care and Women's Health Excellence Awards since their inception. Why would we give that up?"

- Susan Nilon, The Nilon Report

[From Susan Nilon]  Another Move to Privatize SMH

Sarasota County Hospital Board Candidate, Jack Brill, confirmed that he was approached a few weeks ago by a PAC who offered approximately $30K in support if he would agree to back their efforts to privatize Sarasota Memorial Hospital (SMH). Not able to confirm the rumor the PAC is putting up a “slate” of candidates, Brill did say after a few conversations with Anthony Pedicini, the PAC’s representative, he turned them down. Prompting the response from Mr. Pedicini, “We don’t need your permission.”

Anthony Pedicini, known around Sarasota for his work on Peter Lombardo’s campaign against State Attorney, Ed Brodsky. In an email, Mr. Brill connects Mr. Pedicini to Governor Rick Scott’s former company, Hospital Corporation of America (HCA). HCA is the for-profit operator of health care facilities that is already running 20 hospitals between Tampa and Port Charlotte, including Doctors Hospital in Sarasota, Blake Hospital in Bradenton, and Englewood Community Hospital.

Since the early 1990s there has been a large effort by HCA to turn public hospitals private. Motivated by the need to level the playing field, and also for the opportunity to be able to receive public funds, the HCA has been systematically putting the pressure on municipalities with the help of our state legislature.

Stating that public hospitals were a burden on the tax payer, in 2012 Gov. Rick Scott signed a law that requires public hospitals to show justification for them to remain public or come up with a list of possible buyers. They are also required to hire an outside firm to assess the hospital's fair market value. By March of 2013, SMH Board found itself taking a vote to keep Sarasota Memorial Hospital a public hospital.

It is believed that HCA has set aside $250,000 to launch this campaign.  Reaching out to more than Jack Brill and other hospital board candidates, Mr. Pedicini also contacted Florida State Representatives and candidates as well. For those of you who are thinking that privatization is a good thing, you need to realize what that would really mean to our community. The first loss that would be felt would be maternity care. Because of its low margin and high risk, maternity was dropped by HCA at Doctor’s Hospital almost a decade ago. Without SMH maternity care, woman would end up traveling to Tampa to deliver their child. 

Our care for expectant mothers is something that is recognized nationwide. HealthGrades ranked Sarasota Memorial Hospital in the top 5 percent of hospitals in the nation for excellence in women’s health and maternity care. And for the past 10 years, Sarasota Memorial is the only hospital in the country to receive both the Maternity Care and Women's Health Excellence Awards since their inception. Why would we give that up? Additional losses would be felt with long term care, prisoner care, indigent care, the NICU, and the ICU… all services that have no profit margin and yet are a moral obligation to a civilized society.

Every incumbent is a Republican.  Every incumbent has a Republican challenger. That means that the vote you cast in the August primaries will determine the election. It also means that it is an open primary and everyone gets to vote. So even if you don’t have a candidate in other elections, you still need to get to the polls and vote in this race. Don’t ignore this race. Ask the candidates on record their position of keeping SMH a public hospital. Your health may depend on it. As of 07/10/14, a new PAC, Save Our Community Hospital, was opened to support keeping SMH a public hospital.  According to the PAC, as of 7/11/14. They have raised over $60, 000.00. 

SRQ Daily Columnist Susan Nilon is the president of Florida Talk Radio and owner of WSRQ Radio. She hosts The Nilon Report on WSRQ Sarasota 1220AM/106.9FM weekdays 4pm-6pm.

[From Vicki Vega]  Formula for a More Prosperous Community

Despite recent hype to the contrary, it’s a documented fact that “the more you learn, the more you earn.” Scarborough Research and the U.S. Dept of Labor independently agree that this is the case. Here are a few more salient facts as we outline a formula for a more successful community:

  • The average cost of a high school dropout is estimated to drain a community of $295,000 over that person’s lifetime (Mindtrust). As such,  those who dropped out just this past year alone will cost us nearly $20 million. Staggering, right?
  • Sarasota/Manatee is below average - #56 of 100 – amongst metro markets in educational attainment and household earnings. (Scarborough) Not bad, but not great either.
  • Increasing attainment of high quality degrees, certificates and other credentials by just 1% will produce an additional $350 million each year for our Sarasota-Manatee region. Now, that’s a huge positive impact.

So, it’s a natural, then, that the Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce would join with others to create and support a business-education initiative called Talent4Tomorrow. And it’s not surprising that funders have supported this effort to combine and align community efforts to create a system to focus on encouraging career preparation and creation of jobs in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) related fields. These are the high-demand, high-wage, high skills occupations needed the most in our 21st century workplace.

Special thanks to Gulf Coast Community Foundation for its start-up and continued funding and another round of applause to the Lumina Foundation for most-recently awarding the Chamber monies to support its efforts to increase educational attainment in our community.

Our list of business and education partners in this cause is strong and growing. Here are just a few of our major partners who are actively engaged: Sun Hydraulics, PGT Industries, Sarasota-Memorial Healthcare System, Economic Development Corporation of Sarasota County,  Shumaker Loop and Kendrick, Lucid Global, AtLarge, Voalte, Star2Star Communications, CareerEdge, Sarasota County Schools, State College of Florida, Ringling College of Art & Design and USF Sarasota-Manatee. Our work, to date, is focused on the critical areas of Computer/Information Technology, Health Care, Manufacturing and Construction where there are pronounced shortages locally.

Building a world-class regional workforce is imperative as we compete in a global marketplace where talent is scarce. Creating a career pathways system to inspire students to imagine, explore, prepare for and create high-paying jobs is our combined responsibility. Providing new ways and more opportunities for success via mentoring, job shadowing, internships and externships is a must. Our work has just begun. We are still at the early stages of broadening our business and community base. More will be invited to join the cause… and we hope even more will step forward to offer to make a difference.  

SRQ Daily Columnist Vicki Vega is the Initiative Manager for the Talent4Tomorrow Partnership at The Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce


Did you know that the Fuzion Dance Artists perform at regional venues each year including several out-of-state forums such as the Alabama Ballet Center for Dance studio theatre, University of Kentucky and the Manship Theatre in Baton Rouge, LA? On Saturday, October 4, 2014, from 8pm-midnight at the Sarasota Opera House, this troupe along with our other professional performance partners, the Circus Arts Conservatory and the Sarasota Cuban Ballet will thrill guests of SRQ | The Magazine’s signature black tie gala, Bal Masqué.  Tickets to this soiree are $125 with a portion of the proceeds going to a beneficiary of choice, to be selected upon purchasing admission online.  

Get Tickets

[TODAY]  A Living Gift That Shows How Much You Care

Orchids are the perfect gift for any occasion or no occasion at all… and replace one beautiful memory for another with each new bloom! Let the floral experts in the Garden Shop at Selby Gardens prepare an exquisite custom floral arrangement for someone special today. Wide variety of colors, styles and prices to choose from – some local delivery available. Call for information, (941) 366-5731, ext. 242. 

Selby Garden Shop

[TODAY]  Exclusive Siesta Key Distiller's Reserve Spiced Rum

As America celebrates its independence this month, there’s no better way to celebrate than with locally made rum. Siesta Key Distiller's Reserve Spiced Rum is the flagship of the line. It was initially created by the distiller, Troy Roberts, for his own personal enjoyment. It is aged in a method where the oldest rum is never all removed from the barrels. The first batch contains 353 bottles of which 300 will be sold to the public. Recently, Caribbean Journal ranked Siesta Key Rum as one of the 10 best rums made in America. The Caribbean Journal said, "Troy Roberts’ Siesta Key Rum, made at his distillery in Sarasota, is an exceptional spirit, particularly the Spiced variety, which has won Rum Journal’s Spiced Rum of the Year for two years running." Schedule a tour at the tasting room to experience the award-winning Siesta Key Rum and purchase the Reserve Spiced Rum while it's still available! 

Drum Circle Distilling

[SOON]  Saks Fifth Avenue and SNL Partner For Annual Key To The Cure

Saks Fifth Avenue announced that Will Ferrell, Ana Gasteyer, Vanessa Bayer, Cecily Strong and Colin Jost have been named as the Entertainment Industry Foundation (EIF) ambassadors for Saks Fifth Avenue’s 2014 Key To The Cure campaign, representing talent from Saturday Night Live’s past and current casts shot by famed SNL photographer Mary Ellen Matthews. Celebrated New York designers Marcus Wainwright and David Neville of rag & bone have created the limited-edition tee exclusively to benefit the campaign. Now in its 16th year, Key To The Cure has taken a new approach, offering a unisex tee for the first time. The shirt will retail for $35 at Saks Fifth Avenue stores. 100% of the proceeds from each shirt sold will be donated to the Entertainment Industry Foundation’s Women's Cancer Research Fund, benefiting charitable programs dedicated to finding new detection methods, better treatments and, ultimately, cures for women's cancers. “We are very proud to partner with Saks for Key To The Cure and lend our support to such an important cause,” said designer Marcus Wainwright. The tee debuts at Saks Fifth Avenue on October 1. 

Saks Fifth Avenue

[SOON]  Snooty's Lettuce Eating Contest

The South Florida Museum has invited some of the best and brightest community personalities to join in spreading the word about Snooty, the world’s oldest known manatee, and manatee rehabilitation care at the Museum, with “Snooty’s Lettuce Eating Contest.” On July 15 at 11 am, five “celebrity” competitors will pit their appetites against Snooty’s “head to head” of lettuce, that is. Competitors will be judged on style, quantity and personality. The event will offer the media the opportunity to capture the fun for their followers, as well as to engage with the competitors, participants and Museum staff. “Snooty’s Lettuce Eating Contest” will help to raise awareness for the Birthday Bash and for manatee care at the Museum. Manatees in the wild and in rehabilitation eat up to 8-10% of their body weight EVERY DAY in vegetation.  

South Florida Museum

[TODAY]  Van Wezel Ranked #1 Performing Arts Hall in the Country

The results are in and Sarasota’s own Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall has been ranked the #1 performing arts hall in the country, in the 2000-seat category of the 2014 mid-season publication of Venues Today magazine. This is the third time that the Van Wezel has ranked at the top of the chart. The ranking helps the Van Wezel to book the biggest and best shows and performers on the road. Mary Bensel, Executive Director stated, “The Van Wezel is so excited to be again ranked the #1 theatre in the United States! Our 2013-14 season has been amazing from having Jay Leno here the night after he closed out his 30+ year run of the Tonight Show, to presenting John Legend at the height of his popularity with his All Of Me Tour and the #1 single in the nation, to having two of the hottest shows in the summer: Move Live on Tour and American Idol. This year has been a nonstop whirl of great shows and sellout crowds with 74 of them performing above budget.” The Van Wezel is in the midst of preparing for the 2014-2015 season to be announced in September. 

Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall

[SOON]  CWC-FPRA Presents "No Sweat Celebrity Engagement"

The Central West Coast Chapter of the Florida Public Relations Association (CWC-FPRA) presents the “No Sweat Celebrity Engagement by Kim Livengood, Director of PR & Events for Tervis, on July 16, 2014, from 11:30 am–1pm at The Meadows Country Club. Livengood will share her secrets for securing celebrity influencers.  She’s arranged product placement for Tervis tumblers in TV shows and a major movie, as well as gift lounges at events such as Sundance, Celebrity Beach Bowl and the Oscars. Whether celebrity engagement is on your PR plan or not, Kim has tips for pitching your product, connecting with influencers and leveraging the resulting placement that will be of interest to any PR practitioner.  

CWC-FPRA Registration

[TODAY]  The Ringling Presents Thomas Chimes Exhibition

The Ringling will present works by Thomas Chimes from the permanent collection during an exhibition on display July 11-Oct. 26. The exhibition will feature an impressive 17-foot wide mural, preparatory sketches of the mural that show the artist’s working process and a selection of portraits. Many of the works that will be displayed were donated by his former wife Dawn Chimes to The Ringling in 2012.“With Dawn Chimes’ generous gift of works by Thomas Chimes, The Ringling now holds a significant and representative collection of this important American artist’s paintings,” Matthew McLendon, Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at The Ringling said. “The Ringling was the first museum to mount a solo exhibition of his work, and so it is fitting that this legacy has continued." The Ringling hosted Chimes’ first museum survey of his work in 1968. Thomas Chimes (1921-2009) was born in Philadelphia and studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and in the Art Students League in New York. At the latter, Chimes was mentored by Frank Vincent DuMond, who also taught John Marin and Georgia O’Keeffe. 

John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art

SRQ Media Group

SRQ DAILY is produced by SRQ | The Magazine. Note: The views and opinions expressed in the Saturday Perspectives Edition and in the Letters department of SRQ DAILY are those of the author(s) and do not imply endorsement by SRQ Media. Senior Editor Jacob Ogles edits the Saturday Perspective Edition, Letters and Guest Contributor columns.In the CocoTele department, SRQ DAILY is providing excerpts from news releases as a public service. Reference to any specific product or entity does not constitute an endorsement or recommendation by SRQ DAILY. The views expressed by individuals are their own and their appearance in this section does not imply an endorsement of them or any entity they represent. For rates on SRQ DAILY banner advertising and sponsored content opportunities, please contact Ashley Ryan Cannon at 941-365-7702 x211 or via email

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